United States: What Every Employer Needs To Know About The Super Bowl

Last Updated: January 27 2016
Article by Richard R. Meneghello

The stage is officially set. The Denver Broncos will be playing the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, February 7, 2016, and no doubt your employees are very much aware of the upcoming game. A good many of them will be among the estimated 115 million television viewers who will be watching, whether they are passionate fans, more interested in the halftime show, or just there for the commercials.

The impact of the Super Bowl will go well beyond that Sunday evening, however. This game will impact your workplace in the days and weeks leading up to the event, and even into the next day. Here's what every employer needs to know about the Super Bowl.

Before The Game: Gambling In The Workplace

The biggest question most employers have about big-time sporting events like the Super Bowl or March Madness is whether workplace gambling is legal. Many offices will start a small betting pool where participants are encouraged to "buy a square" or otherwise place wagers on various aspects of the game, and sometimes this form of gambling is encouraged or even organized by management. Is that legal?

Several federal laws prohibit wagers on sporting events, and the actions become much more risky if workers place bets across state lines. But the odds of federal enforcement action against low-end office pools are pretty minimal.

State laws vary around the country, although many permit social gambling on events like the Super Bowl as long as the organizer is not skimming money off the top of the pool, the pool is limited to people you know, and the dollar levels remain relatively low.

That being said, employers should have bigger concerns than whether the authorities are going to conduct a raid on their premises when it comes to gambling in the workplace. Instead, you should be more concerned about problems that can befall an office when large amounts of cash are floating through the building. Also, some workers might feel pressured to join despite religious objections they have to gambling, or just because they don't feel like they can afford to join in. Finally, some of your workers might be "sore losers" and not react well to losing money to a coworker, leading to toxic discord in the workplace.

In order to address this situation, you should develop a policy addressing gambling in the workplace and enforce it consistently. If you already have one in place, now would be a good time to send a communication to your employees reminding them of your policy. By reinforcing the rules you have in place that you believe are best for your business, you reduce the likelihood of any violations.

As an easy solution to many of these problems, and recognizing that some segment of your workforce will want to have a stake in the outcome of the game, you may want to consider starting a voluntary workplace pool that requires no entrance fee. You can buy prizes with company funds and hand them out to the winners, turning what could be a problematic event into a morale booster.

Days Leading Up The Game: Productivity And Dress Code Concerns

Although many employers first think about gambling in the workplace when they consider the Super Bowl, they really should be thinking about the loss of productivity associated with the game. An estimate produced by the consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas concluded that the work slowdown in the week before the Super Bowl costs American businesses close to $850 million in lost productivity.

Leading up to the game, sports fans in your office will be spending time online reading about the teams and texting their friends with their predictions instead of working. While it is helpful to create and enforce a policy restricting the kinds of activities that your employees can perform on business computers and company-issued smartphones, realistic employers know that most employees will easily be able to skirt these prohibitions by using personal smartphones and tablets.

Instead, you should enforce productivity standards in the days leading up to the game just like you should be doing every other business day. Many companies recognize that their workers will inevitably spend part of their working day on personal business, whether it is running an errand, shopping online, making a phone call, or chatting with each other. Knowing this, most companies ultimately care about whether the assigned work is getting done, and will not micromanage every moment of the day.

Of course, certain hourly workers and other employees have a responsibility not to steal time from you and will need to remain diligently working at all times they are on the clock. No matter your situation, just make sure to consistently enforce your productivity standards and associated policies. Be realistic when addressing these situations, and make sure you don't come down inordinately hard on one worker who may not be acting much differently than a coworker. Inconsistent treatment is the gateway to a discrimination claim.

Finally, and especially if your offices are located in Colorado or North Carolina, you may want to address your company's dress code leading up to the game. If you are going to allow workers to wear jerseys or otherwise dress in their team colors, make sure you are clear in your communications. Consider whether any safety-related concerns could arise depending on the type of work that your employees are conducting.

The Day After The Game: Monday Morning Absences

Looking ahead to the day after the game, you should prepare for some inevitable absences, no-call/no-shows, and workers arriving late. A recent survey on this subject found that approximately 1.5 million workers call in "sick" the day after the Super Bowl, while another 4.4 million workers show up late. And most employers know that unscheduled absences are far more costly to a business than planned time off.

The ones who do show up are often distracted by water cooler chats, re-watching highlights from the game (or their favorite commercials), reviewing blogs and media stories about the biggest plays on the field, or nursing their hangovers. All of this adds up to diminished productivity.

When it comes to the workers who do show up for work, make sure you enforce your productivity standards just like you did in the days leading up the game, allowing some realistic forbearance on Monday morning. If you employ workers in jobs that include safety-related responsibilities, make sure to monitor them to make sure that the "case of the Mondays" isn't a legitimate hazard that might require drug/alcohol testing or further investigation. And if you happen to work in the city of the losing team, feel free to cut your workers some slack and let them wallow in misery for a few hours.

As for the absent workers or the late-comers, you will want to enforce your attendance policies consistently. At the same time, you should keep in mind any state or federal leave laws that might protect absent workers or place administrative requirements on you before you take disciplinary action. Where allowed, you should consider requiring "sick" employees to provide medical certification documenting the reasons for their absences, which may dissuade workers from trying to pull one over on you.

Following these steps should allow you to sit back, relax, and actually enjoy the Super Bowl this year instead of worrying about the impact it will have on your workplace.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Richard R. Meneghello
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.